Quinn signs legislation to fund education for 2014 - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Quinn signs legislation to fund education for 2014

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

There's good and bad news for local schools as Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signs off on education funding for next year.

The good news is that the feared cuts in school funding did not happen as state aid will remain the same as last year. But, that's also the bad news, as schools are still struggling with bare bones budgets.

Governor Quinn says current funding for education is only at 89% of what's required by law.

Schools are supposed to get $6,100 in general state aid for each student, but right now, they're getting almost $400 less.

Quincy Public Schools Business Manager Joel Murphy says the state has finally caught up on late payments to the school district. And, now that Quinn has signed off on funding, school officials have a clearer picture of exactly how much money they will be working with.

But regional education leaders say the announcement is better than what they anticipated.

"We're happy that it didn't get worse but, the school districts have taken significant hits last year and even before that," said Debbie Niederhauser, regional superintendent for Adams and Pike County. "They're right at the edge of a fiscal cliff."

Leaders say most of a school districts' expenses are in employees so, even a small state cut could mean more teacher layoffs.

"That does impact education because if the teachers aren't there there's larger class sizes and just a number of things," said Niederhauser. "Or, they may not be able to offer certain electives at the high school level because they can no longer afford to hire that teacher. So, it's just a plethora of different scenarios that it could be because of diminished funding."

There is some silver lining in this year's education budget for college students as MAP Grant funding got an increase of 2 million dollars.

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